Junior Dave Horlacher takes the mound for the 14th time this season to start a series for BYU. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
Three games are critical for BYU and San Diego State as they start a three-game baseball series Wednesday in San Diego.
The Aztecs are three games behind BYU, who stands alone in second place, one game behind UNLV.
If BYU can win three games in the season finale at SDSU, and have Utah upset UNLV once, then the Cougars could tie for first place and claim the No. 1 league tournament seed. The tiebreaker favors BYU against UNLV, but it all hinges on the Cougar-Aztec series.
The Cougars have a 2-1 advantage in the SDSU series last month at Provo and bring a 35-16-1 overall record and a 19-8 Mountain West Conference mark into this week's action. The Aztecs are 22-31 and 16-11.
These games are moved up a day from the rest of the conference teams who also finish a day earlier than normal. BYU's series at San Diego begins on Wednesday because of finals and graduation at SDSU. Game times are 6 p.m. (PDT) for Wednesday and Thursday, and 1 p.m., on Friday.
Starting for BYU on the mound to open the series is Dave Horlacher (5-2, 4.13). Lefty Lance Beus (1-1, 6.99) and James Platt (3-1, 6.41) are scheduled to start Thursday and Friday's games for BYU.
Among those to keep an eye on for the Cougars are Jeff Hiestand and Brandon Taylor. Hiestand just had his hitting streak stopped at 29 games, but has been on base the past 32 games. Taylor is currently ranked second nationally in RBI with an average of 1.49; seventh nationally in home runs per game, averaging .37; 12th nationally in slugging, averaging .735; and 40th nationally in runs per game with an average of 1.18.
All of the BYU-SDSU games can be heard live locally on KOVO Radio (960 AM) or live on the Internet through links at www.byucougars.com.
The Cougars bused to San Diego, but will return to Utah on Saturday for next week's MWC Tournament in Salt Lake City.
A multi-page release can be found by downloading the PDF file at the top of this story, which gives a detailed analysis of the Cougars.